Raging Bull

1980

Raging Bull

Critics Consensus

Arguably Martin Scorsese's and Robert De Niro's finest film, Raging Bull is often painful to watch, but it's a searing, powerful work about an unsympathetic hero.

96%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 68

93%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 131,077
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Movie Info

The story of Jake LaMotta, a former middleweight boxing champion, whose reputation for tenacity and success in the ring was offset by his troubled domestic life: full of rage, jealousy, and suspicion--particularly towards his wife and manager/brother--which, in the end, left him destitute, alone, and seeking redemption.

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Cast

Robert De Niro
as Jake LaMotta
Cathy Moriarty
as Vickie LaMotta
Johnny Barnes
as Sugar Ray Robinson
Frank Topham
as Toppy/Handler
Bill Mazer
as Reporter
Bill Hanrahan
as Eddie Eagan
Mike Miles
as Sparring Partner
Kevin Mahon
as Tony Janiro
Ed Gregory
as Billy Fox
Louis Raftis
as Marcel Cerdan
Johnny Turner
as Laurent Dauthuille
Martin Scorsese
as Barbizon Stagehand
Don Dunphy
as Himself/Radio Announcer (Dauthuille Fight)
Charles Scorsese
as Charlie - Man with Como
Bernie Allen
as Comedian
Vic Magnotta
as Fighting Soldier
Kenny Davis
as Referee (1st Robinson Fight)
Jimmy Lennon Sr.
as Ring Announcer (2nd Robinson Fight/Dauthuille Fight)
Marty Denkin
as Referee (Janiro Fight)
Shay Duffin
as Ring Announcer (Janiro Fight)
Jack Lotz
as Referee (Fox Fight)
Coley Wallace
as Joe Louis
Peter Fain
as Dauthuille Corner Man
Count Billy Varga
as Ring Announcer (3rd Robinson Fight)
Harvey Parry
as Referee (3rd Robinson Fight)
Ted Husing
as Himself (TV Announcer 3rd Robinson Fight)
Michael Badalucco
as Soda Fountain Clerk
Paul Forrest
as Monsignor
Mardik Martin
as Copa Waiter
Peter Savage
as Jackie Curtie
Daniel P. Conte
as Detroit Promoter
John Arceri
as Maitre d'
Robert Uricola
as Man outside Cab
Allan Malamud
as Reporter at Jake's House
Mary Albee
as Underage I.D. Girl
Noah Young
as Musician #3
Lou Tiano
as Ricky
Bob Aaron
as Prison Guard #1
John Turturro
as Man at Table
Wally K. Berns
as Arresting Deputy #2
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Critic Reviews for Raging Bull

All Critics (68) | Top Critics (19)

Audience Reviews for Raging Bull

  • Dec 08, 2016
    A triumph of a film. Scorsese has had a long and distinguished career along with the film's lead Robert de Niro. This movie showcases both of these film legends at their best. It is hard to say what exactly this film is "about". The narrative plot is straightforward enough, it follows the life of a 1940-50s boxer. The movie also explores many of the complex issues of violence against women and the psychological destruction of a man who cannot accept or understand intimacy. The real magic is that these issues are expressed through the warped psychological outbursts of De Niro's character. Everyone around LaMotto can see his problem, his unhealthy obsession and suspicion but he cannot help himself. The film finds its expression through the emotional immaturity of the lead character. LaMotto cannot introspectively evaluate his emotions. His thought process is endlessly fascinating to watch as he warps any act of kindness or love into betrayal and distance. He lacks the emotional maturity or awareness to communicate his frustrations to words. The audience simply watches as any small act or suspicion is a window for him to confirm what he wants most of all, confirmation that his partner is unfaithful and by extension he is, himself, unworthy. His hate is a profound one, not a hate of others or what he attacks, but a hatred of himself. Everyone around him senses it but LaMotto simply cannot. The film delivers the signature eye for detail that made Scorsese famous. The boxing fight scenes are brilliant and brutal. The supporting cast is also excellent.
    Shane S Super Reviewer
  • Jun 16, 2016
    This is a great film on a number of levels - as a biography of former middleweight boxing champion Jake La Motta, yes, but also a fascinating character study, with stellar performances from Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci, and epic direction from Martin Scorsese. The opening sequence sets the stage for something special; De Niro is dancing in place alone in the ring in poetic slow motion, we see the film will be in black and white and there is a smoky haze in the background as the opening credits roll. We will soon see just how crazy this man is, as he turns over the dining table in a fight with his first wife over how long to cook his steak, yells down at his complaining neighbor that he's going to kill and eat his dog, and then goads his younger brother (Pesci) into punching him in the face as hard as he can. Throughout the movie, the dialog between De Niro and Pesci is loud, confrontational, argumentative, and fantastic. The times were certainly different, and La Motta was part blunt New Yorker and part Cro-Magnon. He makes out with his wife on the floor in front of his sister-in-law and their toddlers. He's insanely jealous, and accuses his brother of having had sex with his wife (lines I will never forget, and sometimes quote: "I heard things Joey, I heard things" ... "What things you heard?" ... "I heard some things"). After confronting his wife, she "confesses" out of frustration, so he marches over to his brother's house and beats him up, also punching his wife in the face in the process, all in front of his brother's stunned kids. La Motta met his second wife Vikki when she was just 15, and married her when she was 16. In the film she's played well by Cathy Moriarty, though she seems much older (she was only 20 at the time though). In another unforgettable scene, this one erotically charged, she kisses his body when he's not allowed to have sex before a fight, and then after he goes to the sink to pour ice water down his shorts to cool off, shows up in the mirror and begins kissing him some more. Scorsese uses a perfect amount of restraint here, however, and we never 'see' anything. Unfortunately, he doesn't apply this same restraint to violence in the right, overstating it considerably, even considering the type of fighter La Motta was. We see blood spraying as if it were out of a hose, and boxers enduring more punishment than humanly possible. Maybe this is how Scorsese the man saw boxing, having not been a fan beforehand, or Scorsese the artist preferred to paint the violence of the men involved in the sport. Regardless, it was not necessary. That said, seeing De Niro at the end of the last bout with Sugar Ray Robinson (Johnny Barnes), his face a meatloaf, eyes puffed over but grinning like a ghoul as he tottered over to Sugar Ray, taunting him despite the beating he just took, saying "ya never got me down Ray", is another memorable moment. Cut to 6 years later, a fat La Motta is poolside in Florida smoking a cigar, having retired. The legend is that De Niro gained 60-70 pounds over 4 months by eating high-end food in France and Italy, and it's just another larger-than-life aspect of this movie. It's painful to watch his awkward stand-up act, his crude jokes, his philandering with women in the bar, and getting thrown into jail for having let young teenagers into his bar (they having 'proved' being of legal age by French kissing him). His beer belly hangs out of his shirt while he's in a pay phone. Like an idiot, he hammers the jewels out of his championship belt, looking to pawn them, and not understanding they're worth far more in the belt. He's estranged from his brother, and the scene with De Niro following Pesci out of a convenience store down the street is heart wrenching. The film ends with De Niro quoting Brando in 'On the Waterfront' as he practices his stand-up act in front of a mirror. He does it with just the right amount of poor delivery (he's acting as La Motta after all) and pathos, it's another great scene, but I have to say, the words themselves ring false - La Motta's brother WAS looking out for him, among other things beating the hell out of some guys in a nightclub when they were getting too close to his wife, and La Motta did NOT end up with a one-way ticket to Palookaville after throwing a fight for the mafia, he ended up with a title fight a couple of years later and won it. Scorsese may have included too much violence, but he does so many other brilliant things. Black and white was an excellent choice. He uses slow motion to create an epic feel to moments. He uses stills of some of the boxing victories, and footage altered to appear as if it's from old home movies to show events in some of the intervening years. He tells the story with brutal honesty. Most of all, he gives outstanding actors freedom, and they really delivered.
    Antonius B Super Reviewer
  • May 23, 2016
    With quite possibly the greatest performance in the history of cinema, Martin Scorsese's Raging Bull is both haunting and powerful, exploring the themes of self-destruction and defeat in the most heartbreaking way possible. The boxing scenes are stellar, and the Scorsese's direction is brilliant in every way possible.
    Matthew M Super Reviewer
  • Jan 03, 2015
    Though Raging Bull is a finely made biographical narrative, it isn't something that I greatly adore. But as always, De Niro and Pesci delivered terrific performances. De Niro admirably portrayed an abominable character, and that surely is something.
    Maymay A Super Reviewer

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